Life in Colorado is a constant battle of maintaining moisturized skin. The dry climate here can reduce even the most supple, soft skin to a flaky mess if not properly treated with some kind of moisturizer daily. The winter is worse as the cold and dry air combine and causes the body to hoard even more moisture from the skin. Those who have naturally dry skin are really in a bad way.
I am a lotion fiend. I use it daily after showering, of course, but I also cannot wash my hands without lotioning up after. I go crazy if I can’t use lotion on my hands. I hate having dry feet and will apply foot lotion after showering and wear socks to help keep them soft, even during the summer. I alternate between thick body-butter style lotions and regular liquidy ones (I’m pretty sure I just made up the words ‘lotioning’ and ‘liquidy’. Feel free to incorporate them into your daily use). I have been known to spend upwards of a hundred dollars at Bath and body works buying my favorite scents, though I’m trying to change that since they are not vegan. But can you blame me for not passing up their eternal Buy 3 get 2 free sale? Those words are like crack to me. I have also spent $50 on one tub of the greatest lotion ever, but these days I’m looking for something more budget-friendly AND vegan to sooth my skin.
When I first started buying cruelty-free products, Nature’s Gate was one of the companies I was drawn to. For one thing they have a picture of a happy bunny on their bottles, which at that time was my only barometer of what was cruelty-free. I bought a bottle of the pomegranate sunflower lotion, used it, and went on to trying other brands. I remember really liking the scent but I don’t remember how well it worked. Lucky for me, NG was on sale at Whole Foods last week and I picked up a bottle of the Acai lotion.
All of NG’s lotions contain their exclusive natural moisture booster blend: Shea Butter, Sweet Almond Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Soybean Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Vegetable Glycerin and Vitamin E. I want to take a moment and explain a little about what sodium hyaluronate is and does, since some people might be weary of an ingredient that sounds artificial.
Sodium hylauronate is a natural substance similar to the fluid the surrounds our joints. It is basically a very long chain of sugar molecules from a salt molecule base. It is well known for its lubricating properties and is often used in knee injections to restore viscosity to the synovial fluid. On the cosmetic level, it works by drawing moisture to the surface of the skin and promoting the absorption of all the other ingredients resulting in moist, smooth skin. (http://www.truthinaging.com/ingredient-spotlight/hyaluronic-acid-sodium-hyaluronate).
Okay, science lesson over! Pop quiz later…
I chose Acai in order to reap the antioxidant benefits of this super fruit. Acai helps defend against sun damaging free-radicals, something very important to skin care living at high-altitude. The consistency is perfect and doesn’t feel like you’re just rubbing watered-down lotion on. It also absorbs quickly. After finishing up the last reserves of my BBW lotion I began using this and immediately noticed an improvement in the softness of my skin. Although BBW’s lotions have jojoba, shea butter, and Vitamin E, they also have a sh*t ton of synthetic ingredients so the moisturizing effects are really very temporary.
The acai scent is very sweet but I don’t think it’s so overpowering as to offend sensitive noses. Now I have a confession to make; about 50% of my decision to buy a lotion is based on the scent. I can’t help it. After years of wearing BBW’s vast collection of smells I just can’t bring myself to like the scent of patchouli lotion (a Kiss My Face scent). So although I’ve been experiencing a worse-than-normal level of dry, itchy skin I just couldn’t bring myself to go with the Colloidal Oatmeal version because it just smelled…plain. Like oatmeal, I guess. Thankfully the Acai has worked wonders. They do have other pleasant smells like the aforementioned pomegranate sunflower and papaya so while I may never enjoy my beloved Twilight Woods again, I know I’m doing my skin, and animals, a world of good.
NG’s lotions are geared towards problem skin, though they do have a few that are for normal skin. For those of you with sensitive skin, NG makes a fragrance-free lotion. They also have a ‘glow lotion’ which gradually builds a natural-looking tan which I will definitely try come spring. The price is perfect; I bought an 18oz bottle for $10.99 (normally $11.99) and it will last me at least a month even with liberal daily use. You can pair your lotion with a matching body wash (cause who doesn’t love things in pairs?) which also contains their moisture blend. Look for them in your local natural grocer or you can buy at their http://www.shopnatures-gate.com/